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View Diary: Standing Behind a Ban on Torture (244 comments)

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  •  frankly, NOTHING grates on my nerves like: (5+ / 0-)

    "Thank you for your service," as though it were a mantra, or worse, some religious benediction for something unique, unusual, bizarre, or exceedingly rare.

    General, you would be the first to admit that our military is made up of mostly fine, ethical, moral, dedicated folks, because that is how you used to select, train, and educate them. And for the vast percentage of time, that is how they behave. But not all of them.

    As a lawyer, we too are trained to behave ethically, morally, and always trying to do the best job possible for our clients - it is part of our oath, and frankly, most people take that oath seriously. Just as in your military, we have bad apples, too.

    You signed up to do a job, and you have done that. You don't deserve thanks for simply doing your job. No one does. Such hollow thanks are meaningless, without understanding, and context-free. Therefore I will not take that route.

    "Thank you for your service" should be banned from the English language. It is nonsensical, it is little more than a congressionally created POS shorthand way of obscuring the real issue of the moment, the true facts, and the underlying complexities. And, boy, do we have some earthshattering issues before us.

    That said, I do have some thanks to give you, but from a different perspective.
    Thank you for your standing up for your ideals, your morals, your ethics, and in compliance with your training. Thank you for using your brain, not being deluded by TV programs like 24, or DOD propaganda,  as you take a complex situation, and apply your training, education and knowledge. The result is before us: You share with us your position on torture and have actually acted in response to a truly terrible situation.  

    It must not be easy for you. I suspect that you can kiss some sweet lobbying position goodbye. I would also suspect that some of your counterparts are worried, rightly worried, that your position and opinion become the majority view again, and that they may actually be looking at jail time. It is not easy to report on and testify against those who would go in the foxholes with you.
    I also suspect that others in government, mostly unnamed, possibly part of the CIA, or other organizations, may even be tempted to make your life difficult because of your public stance. You have my complete respect, and my sincerest wishes that it never comes to that. But just like you would not have expected that a change in policy on torture required a new president, we do not know what to expect as a result of your words, deeds, and actions here.

    Best wishes, sir, and may you come back here often. Unlike what Rush, Billo and other buffoons say about dKos, most people here search knowledge, hunger for truth, and wish only the best for our country. That is why your expert input and knowledge would be so cherished and valued.

    Thanks,
    Pastor Agnostic

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 12:05:34 PM PST

    •  It grates on my nerves too. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      agnostic, Neon Mama

      Almost like we're trying to be more knee-jerk nationalistic than the right-wing.  I do appreciate the fact that Cullen did the right thing - as any ethical officer would.

      Dubya's legacy: 25 million really pissed Iraqis...50 million shoes

      by skrekk on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 01:03:44 PM PST

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      •  It is one thing to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skrekk

        respect a person, an office, or in the case of too many GOPers, an orifice, and another to manufacture a mandatory intro statement that has nothing to do with anything.

        Frankly, I wish that every time Rummie or Rice, or any of the sycophants in the DOD who did Uncle Don's bidding were grilled seriously over the coals, asked the hard questions, and pin-pointed on facts, instead of our senators falling over themselves, refusing to do anything but froth ecstatic about the wonderful service being done by them.

        Those generals who did stand up were removed from the DOD by Rummie, and worse, IGNORED, for the most part, by congress.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 01:48:15 PM PST

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    •  i only say it when I mean it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LI Mike

      i also define "service" more broadly than simply wearing the uniform--and I think this situation deserves it, at a time when so many are afraid to speak up, giving the impression that the entire military approves of what the US has done at Gitmo.

      someday we may get back to the time when integrity and ethical actions are commonplace and expected.  until that happens, I will reflexively thank Gen. Cullen and these other men who help put a respectable public face on opposition to torture.

      and I do think it is OK to thank people for doing their jobs.  a lot of people have jobs and don't do them well or do them at all.  showing appreciation for people who live up to their obligations, including moral ones, helps build the beloved community.

      Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
      President Barack Obama. At last.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 04:30:32 PM PST

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      •  but it has become a meaningless mantra (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueMajority

        one that has been driven by the Ds in Office. Their fear of criticizing Iraqnam caused that fiasco to become worse. Their fear of being tagged with the "Unpatriotic" label allowed the thieves in the Bush/Cheney White House to literally get away with murder.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 07:39:11 AM PST

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        •  i do agree with your basic point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          agnostic

          about folks who say it for fear of being labeled unpatriotic.

          i just want to mention that not everyone says it reflexively or meaninglessly or out of fear.

          Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.
          President Barack Obama. At last.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 07:43:51 AM PST

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          •  you make heapum good point, Kemo Sabe (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TrueBlueMajority

            But I swear, if one more congresscritter starts what should be an adversarial investigation or questioning of anyone in Intel, or the DOD, with that mantra, I will throw something at the CSpin Channel.  Congress is there to ask hard questions. They represent the American people. They MUST do the heavy lifting.

            Mind you, for 8 yrs, none of the heavy lifting took place, not even over the last two years. Hard to do it when your leader takes things off the table, tho.

            What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

            by agnostic on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 07:51:32 AM PST

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    •  I'm a nurse. I agree. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      agnostic

      No need for any thanks.  You did your job long enough to retire.  You don't need no extra cheering on.  Nor do I.

      If you did your job for thanks, you did it for the wrong reason.  

      With that said, thank you for your service in pointing out how unAmerican torture is.  It shouldn't have to be above and beyond, if ya know what I'm saying, and I suspect ya do.

    •  I respect this POV -- allow me to counter! (2+ / 0-)

      I believe that it all lies with the intent and sincerity with which the words "thank you for your service" are spoken. I realize how it may become annoying for the recipient of such kudos to hear it over and over again -- as you have all pointed out, those who serve don't (or ought not to) do it for the gratitude.

      However, I believe the expression of gratitude can be uplifting and it can serve as an individual acknowledgment of the magnitude of the service rendered. I do think that service is one of the highest expressions of being -- and I even think this now about the military, which I did not trust growing up (I come from a country where our armed forces betrayed our nation). I think this about the military thanks to people like General Cullen, people whom I've never met but who reflect my own principles.

      Gratitude means acknowledging what's true and what's great about life. A simple word of gratitude can serve as a recognition of a person's true self. Gratitude is something many of us don't practice as often as we could -- gratitude and service can enrich a person's life beyond what he or she can imagine. So as long as it's sincere and heartfelt, gratitude is warranted; words will always be inadequate but a grateful intent can transcend all.

      Republicans: Wrong About Everything.

      by chin075 on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 12:12:55 AM PST

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      •  I would never decry, attack, or poke fun of (0+ / 0-)

        any sincere display of respect and acknowledgment of accomplishment, and in this case, all of that, PLUS taking a very welcome stance on torture. (My gosh. the idea that we would ever be talking about torture in AMERICA! still shocks me to no end)

        But when the mantra becomes a habit, the first sentence out of each congresscritter and senatwhore's mealy mouths, it loses its impact rather quickly. Even worse, it mentally prevents the elected reps of this country from putting an officer on the spot, be it about torture, illegal DOD propaganda, or the misuse of retired officers to further neocon war policies.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 11:57:27 AM PST

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